Chris Commarota, Vice President of Construction
Chris joined Kiddie Academy in 2000. He oversees all construction and opening activities for Kiddie Academy. Chris has over 25 years of construction management experience and holds a degree in Business Management from the University of Baltimore.
Susan Euteneuer, General Counsel
Susan joined Kiddie Academy in 2014 as General Counsel. Prior to joining Kiddie Academy, Susan worked in private practice as an attorney since 2001, focused mainly on complex business litigation and appeals. She is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland as well as the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Susan earned her law degree from the University of Maryland and her BA from The Catholic University of America.
Joshua Frick, Vice President of Real Estate
Josh joined Kiddie Academy in 2001. He oversees all real estate development activities for Kiddie Academy. Josh has over 12 years of real estate development experience. Prior to joining Kiddie Academy, Josh worked for a regional real estate developer in Pennsylvania. Josh earned his BS in Marketing with a double minor in Management and Entrepreneurship from York College of Pennsylvania.
Greg Goodwin, Vice President of Technology
Greg Goodwin joined Kiddie Academy in 2014 and leads the Technology team. Greg has over 10 years of experience developing technology solutions within the education industry. Greg holds a M.S. degree in Advanced Information Technologies and a B.S. degree in Business Information Systems from Stevenson University.
Gregory Helwig, President
Greg joined Kiddie Academy in October, 2008. He provides overall strategic leadership for the entire company, while maintaining direct supervision of the Franchise Development, Real Estate, Legal, Construction and Marketing departments. Greg received a BA degree from Kean University and attended Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Graduate School of Business. Greg has over 25 years of executive-level franchise industry experience, including work in optical manufacturing and dispensing, vitamin and nutritional supplement retailing, and the after-school tutoring industries.
Wendy Odell Magus, CFE, Vice President of Marketing
Wendy joined Kiddie Academy in January, 2008 and leads the consumer and franchise sales marketing efforts. She brings over 22 years of broad-based marketing and communications experience, primarily in child-centric businesses, including over 11 years in franchising. Wendy holds a BS in Business Administration from Southern Adventist University, a Certification in Franchise Management from Georgetown University and a Certified Franchise Executive designation from the International Franchise Association.
Michael Miller, Executive Chairman
As the son of the Kiddie Academy’s founders and the father of two Kiddie Academy graduates, Michael has been involved in the family business from the inception and joined full-time in 1984 focusing on growth and supervision of the financial aspects. Over the years, Michael has become a veteran in the childcare and franchise industry and has led Kiddie Academy to become a national leader in education-based child care. While his responsibility is the overall management of the company, his primary role is centered on continual enhancement and development of the Kiddie Academy brand experience. Michael currently is Executive Chairman of Essential Brands, Inc.’s (Kiddie Academy’s parent company) Board of Directors. He holds a BS degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Towson University.
Kevin Murphy, Vice President of Operations
Kevin joined Kiddie Academy 2005. He heads up the Operations Department and directs the team of Franchise Business Consultants. Kevin has 28 years of experience in education and 16 years in organizational leadership. Kevin holds a BA in Philosophy from Washington College and a MEd in Supervision and Administration from Loyola University.
Richard Peterson, Vice President of Education
Richard joined Kiddie Academy in 2013. He leads the education team in the development and updating of Kiddie Academy’s proprietary Life Essentials® curriculum, guides the company’s accreditation process and Educational Advisory Board, and oversees the company’s Training Department. Prior to joining Kiddie Academy, Richard led education and operations for the Eastern division of an employer sponsored child care company and spent more than 20 years in multi-site management in educational settings. Richard holds a B.S. in Biology and Biological Science from the University of Maryland, a Certification in Franchise Management from Georgetown University and a Certified Franchise Executive designation from the International Franchise Association.
Kevin Shaffer, Vice President of Finance
Kevin joined Kiddie Academy in 2015. He provides leadership to the Finance team and supports the franchise community through operating analysis and assistance in obtaining lender financing. Prior to joining Kiddie Academy, he has had experience providing finance and operating leadership in a variety of educational service businesses that provided K-12 classroom instruction, virtual learning, post secondary education and franchise based tutoring. Kevin earned a BS in Accounting from the University of Delaware and a Masters degree from Johns Hopkins University.
Lene Steelman, Controller
Lene Steelman joined Kiddie Academy in 2005 and leads the Accounting team. Additionally, she provides expertise and support to franchisees in their efforts to obtain third-party financing. Prior to joining Kiddie Academy, she spent four years at a public/outsourced accounting firm and 15 years working in private sector accounting, holding various positions. Lene holds a B.S. in Accounting from Bob Jones University.
Susan Wise, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer
Susan provides leadership to the Accounting, Education, Operations, Technology and Marketing departments and is responsible for the implementation of the Kiddie Academy financial plans, policies and accounting practices. Since 1989, Susan has held positions of increasing responsibility at Kiddie Academy.
Greg White, Vice President of Franchise Development
Greg joined Kiddie Academy in 2013 and leads the franchise development efforts, marketing the Kiddie Academy business opportunity and managing the development team. He also works with franchisees as they expand their businesses to open additional locations. Greg has over 20 years of small business experience and understands the rewards and demands of running a business. He earned a B.A. from Thiel College.
Mary Beth O’Bryan, Executive Assistant
Mary Beth joined Kiddie Academy in 2014. She is originally from Louisville, KY and has lived in Maryland since 2012. Mary Beth supports the Franchise Development Team with their administrative needs. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Louisville and has over 9 years of administrative experience.
Jeffrey Brazier, Director of Franchise Development
Jeff joined the Kiddie Academy franchise development team in 2016. As part of the development team, he works with franchise candidates as they proceed through our franchise discovery process. Jeff has over 15 years of business development experience.
Chris Shaffer, Director of Franchise Development
Chris became a member of the Kiddie Academy team in 2014. In his role, He works closely with franchise candidates to guide them through our Discovery and Orientation process in becoming a franchisee with Kiddie Academy. Chris has over 18 years of sales and marketing experience.
Broc Silberzahn, Director of Franchise Development
Broc joined the Kiddie Academy Franchise Development team in 2013. In his role, he works closely with franchise candidates to provide a thorough overview of the process required to become approved as a Kiddie Academy franchisee. Broc has over 15 years of business experience, with 10 years of franchise industry experience in the education sector.
Curriculum Advisory Board
The Kiddie Academy Curriculum Advisory Board meets regularly to review the feasibility of activity implementation and developmental appropriateness of all activities that are part of the Kiddie Academy Life Essentials program. The board also provides valuable insight related to current research and trends in early childhood education.
Dr. Mary Rivkin, Curriculum Advisory Board Member
Mary S. Rivkin, Ph.D., is associate professor of education at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County where she teaches early childhood education. She is co-author of Science Experiences for the Early Childhood Years, 10th ed. (2012), and author of The Great Outdoors: Advocating for Natural Spaces for Young Children, rev. ed, (2014). The Great Outdoors explores her conviction that children have lost most of their access to outdoor play, especially in nature, and educators should use every means to restore that access for them. Child care centers are particularly important places for outdoor play as young children spend so much time at them.
Dr. Beth Rogowsky, Curriculum Advisory Board Member
Beth Rogowsky, Ed.D. has 14 years of teaching experience in both rural and urban public schools. In 2013, Dr. Rogowsky completed postdoctoral training at the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers University where her research focused on improving the language and literacy skills of learners from birth to adulthood. Being a postdoctoral fellow in a neuroscience research center linked Dr. Rogowsky’s previous teaching experience with the science of how the brain learns. Currently, Dr. Rogowsky is an Assistant Professor at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in the College of Education.
Dr. Ocie Watson-Thompson, Curriculum Advisory Board Member
Ocie Watson-Thompson is Professor and Chairperson for the Department of Early Childhood Education at Towson University. Her graduate degree and undergraduate degree were earned at the University of Alabama in the areas of Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education and Special Education with a concentration in Language and Literacy. She has over thirty years of experience as a teacher and teacher educator. Developmentally appropriate practices, cultural inclusive instruction for young children and quality preparation of teachers/practitioners have been the focus of her scholarly work. Dr. Watson-Thompson continues to teach, supervise and mentor undergraduate and graduate students as they deliver effective instruction and learning experiences in diverse and culturally inclusive environments.
Dr. Edyth J. Wheeler, Curriculum Advisory Board Member Emeritus
Edyth J. Wheeler, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita from Towson University, Maryland, where she was Graduate Director and faculty member in the Department of Early Childhood Education. She also spent 11 years as a teacher and director of one of the first NAEYC accredited centers in Virginia. A Kentucky native, now living in Virginia, she earned her M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Education (Early Childhood) at George Mason University. Active in national professional organizations, she serves as an NCATE/CAEP program reviewer and has worked with Kiddie Academy as a curriculum consultant. Her book, Conflict Resolution in Early Childhood, was published in 2004, and she is currently writing on families and communities.